Fire fighters battle blaze in Gran Canaria
30 July 2007 , LAS PALMAS DE GRAN CANARIA – Fire fighters backed by soldiers and helicopters battled a wildfire on Monday raging through the south-western region of the island of Gran Canaria, an area popular with tourists, authorities said.
30 July 2007
LAS PALMAS DE GRAN CANARIA – Fire fighters backed by soldiers and helicopters battled a wildfire on Monday raging through the south-western region of the island of Gran Canaria, an area popular with tourists, authorities said.
Two thousand people were evacuated from the Mogán and San Bartolomé de Tirajana municipalities as the flames, fed by strong winds and high temperatures, advanced towards the towns.
There were no immediate reports of casualties nor estimates of damage in the fire.
Along with dozens of fire fighters airlifted in from throughout the Canary Islands archipelago, more than 100 Spanish army soldiers from an emergency response unit and five special fire-fighting helicopters were drafted in to battle the blaze which began on Friday.
A forest ranger arrested on charges of arson has confessed to police that he started the fire.
Authorities said the high winds and dense smoke were making it difficult to halt the spread of the flames.
Around 16,000 people reside permanently in the threatened area, but those numbers rise to between 50,000 and 60,000 with the arrival of the summer tourist season. The local federation of hotel owners offered rooms to the evacuees.
In a separate incident, tourists joined hotel employees and local residents in fighting another fire which broke out near the Gran Canaria resort of San Agustin, according to officials.
At the same time, firemen and civil guards fought to control a wildfire on Gomera, another island in the archipelago, officials said.
High temperatures across Spain also contributed to wildfires in the provinces of Cordoba, Huelva and Girona.
(Copyright EFE with Expatica)
Subject: Spanish News